The Muscle Fuelling The Mantra

The Muscle Fuelling The Mantra

Meet Arthur Jones, Durban born gentleman, father, husband, athlete, blogger, contributing editor and all round health enthusiast. Upon discovering Arthur’s fitness and adventure blog, The Mantra, at the beginning of the year, we were so impressed with the international standard that we just had to meet the mysterious mogul behind the blog – who also happens to be the contributing editor for Men’s Health Magazine. We were very surprised that he agreed to meet with us and even more surprised that he turned out to be such a genuinely cool guy. It was refreshing to meet someone who is so passionate about all aspects of life. Someone who isn’t afraid to push boundaries, take on challenges and explore different avenues to a healthier more productive lifestyle. For Arthur there is nothing more rewarding than constantly testing and measuring ones ability, and then working on ways to improve it. Arthur sought to create a platform that allowed readers to not only find truth in fitness, but to experience adventure that truly defines ones character.

“The inspiration had been right at my feet the whole time. I’m a dog person, and have two very spoilt staffies. I realised that they, in their own way, embodied the right kind of attitude to life, and one that mirrored what I’m trying to do with The Mantra”

Ever since meeting Arthur, we’ve been drawn to his positive outlook on life and eager to learn more about what drives his passion:

  1. Where did the Mantra idea stem from and why did you decide to launch the site?
    To put it simply, I created the brand to provide content that I wanted to read, which covered aspects of how I want to live my life. I’ve been creating fitness and health content for over a decade now, and while I’ve loved working for an incredible brand like Men’s Health, and enjoyed writing a few stories for other titles like Women’s Health and Shape – I wanted to create my own brand. It’s not something that’s happened overnight, it’s been brewing for a while. I enjoy discovering and trying out new fitness challenges, and am always looking for the perfect fitness formula. It’s about finding the right words and actions to help you become stronger, fitter and happier.
  2. Who is your ideal target market?
    This isn’t easy to answer, as I don’t have a specific age range, category or LSM in mind. I want to appeal to anyone that’s interested in finding smarter ways to get fit and to be healthier. I’m targeting people with a sense of adventure, men and women that are willing to experiment to find better, and more satisfying life experiences. At the bottom of it all, I want to appeal to people that want to improve themselves, and that need a little motivation along the way.
  3. Share with us your favourite exercise and what your weekly workouts usually entail?
    Right now I’m really enjoying Olympic lifting (the two moves are the snatch and clean and jerk). They are complex, technically challenging moves that can’t be mastered quickly (or even in a few years). Through my training at Cape CrossFitI’ve tried everything from slacklining, weekly beach workouts in summer to the SA Navy water-based obstacle course in Simon’s Town.
  4. How do you balance your job, family, social life and passion for fitness?
    I’ve got a very understanding wife – it makes all the difference. Otherwise, I carefully plan each day so that I get my training session in, and it doesn’t conflict with work and family duties. I don’t see training and my fitness training as an indulgence, it’s a part of who I am and helps me in the other areas of my life.
  5. If you could do one exercise everyday what would it be and why?
    If this were one of those desert island questions, then it would have to be the overhead squat. It packs the most in fitness benefits for me, and it’s an honest, unforgiving test.
  6. What would you say your fitness weakness is?
    Sometimes I get a bit too schizophrenic in my training and change up things too often before they’ve got a chance to provide long-term benefits. I love experimenting with different kinds of training, but I’m learning that you need to dedicate a long time for any training method to provide substantial, lasting benefits. I’ve now been CrossFitting for over two years.
  7. If you had to choose three meals to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    This is easily the toughest question. The first would be chilli con carne – it’s my favourite meal. The second would probably be some kind of burger, from sliders through to my all-time favourite wife’s homemade classics. The last meal: sirloin, rare, with sweet potato chips, creamed spinach and roasted vegetables. In terms of sauce (you got to let me have a sauce too, surely) – then it would have to be Sriracha. I’m addicted to the stuff.
  8. Your favourite adventure to date?
    One of my last overseas holidays, I went to the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament (the biggest party of my life) and then spent 10 days in Vietnam after that. It’s an incredible country that’s filled with unforgettable scenery and great food too. I was also able to do a training session in Ho Chi Minh City at an open air CrossFit box. The humidity was pretty intense.
  9. What has been your biggest fitness challenge to date and why?
    Comrades and boxing in an amateur fight were two big mentally tough challenges. I really enjoyed doing triathlon races, but I’m not a natural cyclist and I found the ride for the half Ironman really tough! The scariest would probably be doing spearfishing in the company of sharks.
  10. Have you had any major injuries – if yes, what from and how did you recover?
    Unfortunately I tore cruciate ligaments in both my knees, and have had surgery to replace both, one using part of my hamstring and the other part of my patella tendon. It’s one of the reasons why strength training is so important for me, as I need to make sure that all the muscles surrounding my knees are strong enough to keep the joints secure. It does mean I have old, creaky knees that sound like popcorn popping when I do my warming up. 
  11. Any big challenges, races or competitions that you would like to enter next?
    Before the birth of my daughter, I really enjoyed doing trail stage races, ones like the Wild Run and African X. I’d like to do something like that, or a MTB race like the Sani 2 Sea or the Berg and Bush.

Wellness in the City
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